What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's Upcoming Surgery
Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet's
surgery, and we hope this information will help. It also explains the
decisions you will need to make before your pet's upcoming surgery.
Is the anesthetic safe?
Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much
safer than in the past. Here at Lakewood Animal Hospital, we do a
thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics. We
also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the
health of your pet.
Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of
anesthesia. We recommend every pet has blood testing performed before
surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic.
Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems
that cannot be detected without blood testing. If there is a problem,
it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical
complications. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be
postponed until the problem is corrected.
We offer in-house blood testing before surgery, which we will go
over with you when you bring your pet in. For geriatric or ill pets,
additional blood tests, electrocardiograms (ECGs), or x-rays may be
required before surgery as well.
It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce
the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You will need to
withhold food from your pet after 8 pm the evening before surgery.
Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.
Will my pet have stitches?
For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath
the skin with some skin glue on the top. These will dissolve on their
own, and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries do require
skin stitches which require removal 10-14 days after surgery. With
either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for
swelling or discharge. Most dogs and cats do not lick excessively or
chew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem you will also
need to watch for. You will also need to limit your pet's activity
level for a time and no baths are allowed until their post-operative
progresss examination 10-14 days after surgery.
Will my pet be in pain?
Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to
cause pain in animals. Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as
people do; they usually don't whine or cry, but you can be sure they
feel it. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed.
Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor
lacerations. For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory the
day after surgery and several days after to lessen the risk of
discomfort and swelling.
Because cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin,
ibuprofen, or Tylenol, we are limited in what we can give them. Recent
advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in
cats than ever before. We use a combination of pain medication which
results in our patients being very comfortable after surgery.
What other decisions do I need to make?
When you bring your pet in for surgery, it will take 10-15
minutes to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing
and other options available. When you pick up your pet after surgery
you can also plan to spend about 15-20 minutes to go over your pet's
home care needs.
We will call you the night before your scheduled surgery
appointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off and
to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please don't
hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health or